Measuring Single Molecule Lifetimes


During the first few weeks of summer research, I’ve been working toward my main goal of studying the behavior of an inexpensive organic dye at the molecular level by integrating two techniques: single molecule spectroscopy (SMS) and time-correlated single photon counting (TCSPC). SMS lets us look at the electron transfer processes happening in individual molecules, which is important because in dye-sensitized solar cells (the eventual application of this research) the environment is heterogeneous, meaning that each molecule undergoes different processes at very different speeds. TCSPC measures fluorescence lifetime decays of individual molecules, and can detect processes that happen in picoseconds, while SMS alone can detect electron transfer events down to only the millisecond timescale.

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Lab and Storage Exploration

The logistics for my family program are being finalized, and it is scheduled to begin next week!  I am very excited to see how it turns out, but in the meantime I have been able to focus on other aspects of the internship.

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Data Wrangling

Near the conception of this project, I was part of several discussions on “data workflow” and other such monikers that allude to the crazy, messy world of what we call data. In a time when information and “big data” are valuable and only relatively recently tapped sources of knowledge, extracting insights from this messy world is a skill that seems like it just makes everything easier. So naturally, I was excited at the idea of being able to learn some of the techniques used to make sense of everything in the process of my summer research project. After all, when practicing science and statistics, there is a lot information to keep track of. Unfortunately that means there are that many more ways that all that information can get mixed up and jumbled around… I learned several important things about cleaning and managing data in the course of my project so far. [Read more…]